Building A Cloud Security And Compliance Function

Building A Cloud Security And Compliance Function

Author:
Emma Toole Cloud Tech Journalist
Published: May 13, 2020
4 Min Read

As businesses scale, cloud security should be on the forefront of everyone’s mind when operating in the cloud. The cloud makes it increasingly easy to deploy resources, which can easily lead to internal misconfigurations and data breaches. Creating a strong cloud security team can help prevent these mistakes from happening. 

Learn more about establishing a successful cloud infrastructure security and compliance practice from our whitepaper. 

Why is cloud security important?

Cloud security is a set of company policies and processes implemented to protect data and infrastructure resources in public clouds. Cloud security requires collaboration between departments and teams to address emerging security and compliance issues that organizations face. 

Cloud security isn’t easy. They need to achieve properly configured services to encrypt data, prevent unauthorized access to resources, and maintain regulatory compliance—all without slowing down innovation. 

Creating a cloud security team allows organizations to prevent accidental misconfigurations that can lead to data exposures, financial losses, and erosion of brand value for companies. However, if your company is small, or you’re just starting your cloud security path, you may not be able to create a large security team right away and can only dedicate one team member to cloud security. This team member is more commonly known as the cloud security architect and they can provide valuable skills when building out your cloud security function. 

What is a cloud security architect?

Creating a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) can help create clarity around shared responsibility on the customer side. The CCoE needs a cloud security architect who is extremely skilled in security and cloud technologies in order to provide secure and compliance solutions that enable different information security teams to perform their responsibilities and coordinate efficiently. 

A cloud security architect works closely with IT operations, developer teams, and cross functionally to establish best security practices, enable auto-remediation, and decrease security threats across the organization. The cloud security architect is an important player on the cloud team, and can help drive collaboration across an organization. 

Maturing your multicloud security 

Your CCoE and cloud security architect will work together to start to maintain and mature your mutlicloud security function. 

Building a Successful Cloud Infrastructure Security and Compliance Practice

1. Get visibility into cloud accounts and security vulnerabilities

The first step to maturing your cloud security function is to gain visibility into all cloud accounts. Creating a coordinated approach for access management, collecting inventory data, and standardizing creation of new accounts can help increase visibility. 

By getting access into these cloud accounts, conducting a first time security assessment is recommended with out-of-the-box assessments. Be prepared to be flooded with security violations and alerts, but don’t change notification preferences just yet because you’ll want to maintain real-time visibility into these accounts. Once you have visibility into what your cloud environment looks like, then you should develop a notification process (i.e. severity of alerts, frequency, approval chains, etc.) that works for your organization.

2. Optimize security control based on organizational requirements

After getting some insight into the types of security violations your company has experienced, it’s time to cut it back and identify an optimized set of controls to minimize false positives. These controls depend on application, business, organizational, or industry context. Start with a smaller set of controls based on these needs, work with developers to resolve violations, and gradually add additional controls overtime. 

3. Improve governance by automating actions

Once controls are set in place, businesses can improve their threat detection and free up time for the outnumbered security personnel by using auto-remediation. Violations can be broken down into easily automated tasks and ones that need human remediation. Knowing which threat falls into each bucket is helpful when creating guardrails and policies. Developer intervention is typically needed for violations, but finding the areas for automation resolution is key. 

4. Integrate security proactively in application deployment process 

This step can be achieved by building security checks into the CI/CD pipeline, so when a resource is created, security is already monitoring misconfigurations at the time of deployment. This then creates a continuous feedback loop for security teams of threat detection. This feedback can be changed depending on department/application needs, but should constantly be monitoring for configuration drift. 

All in all, security is a key part of a multicloud environment and cannot be ignored. The security team should work to appeal to all stakeholders, achieve real time security insights, and prevent cloud security breaches. Developing your cloud security function takes time, however it doesn’t have to with CloudHealth. 

Read our Whitepaper “Building a Successful Cloud Infrastructure Security & Compliance Practice” to learn more about the common challenges cloud security teams face, along with their solutions, and additional insights into key KPIs you should track at each step of the maturity model. 
 

Building a Successful Cloud Infrastructure Security and Compliance Practice
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Emma Toole
Emma Toole , Cloud Tech Journalist

Emma Toole is the current Digital Content Marketing Co-op at CloudHealth and spends her time writing blogs about cloud industry news and best practices. Outside of CloudHealth, Emma is a student at Northeastern University pursuing a Business Administration degree with concentrations in Marketing and Supply Chain along with her minor in Sustainable Business Practices. In her free time, Emma enjoys creating videos with the only film club on campus, Northeastern Television (NUTV).

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